BCHO Architects Associates
AYU SPACE is a botanical garden cultural space located in Namyangju City, Gyeonggi-do Province, South Korea. It is located by the beautiful waterfront of the Bukhan River, and the space is designed to convey AYU brand's belief and vision: A Holistic Journey to Find the Self in a Natural Environment. The plan for the complex started with the conditions of the land and the natural environment that had been completely separated from the outside for forty years. This land had a traditional Hanok, a main house, and a few service houses that had all been used as a family’s private summer palace for a very long time. There were impressive ginkgo trees, beautiful pines, metasequoias, maples, and diverse flowering shrubs in the garden that had, at the time, been cultivated for several decades.
The architecture needed to be a flexible framework that embraced new functions while embracing the history and environmental conditions of the existing land. The existing summer villa, AYU Restaurant was renovated into a multi-purpose cultural space combining dining and art that maximized the structure and traces of time. Hanok was reborn as an art gallery, AYU Gallery. Additionally, the architect Byoungsoo Cho designed a completely new building AYU Cafe with the purpose of being a cafe and space for cultural performances such as fashion shows, concerts, and contemporary dance recitals.
Rather than becoming a third element that separates it from the existing villa and Hanok, the newly proposed architecture will permeate into the site and weave sporadic elements into a single landscape while dramatically recognizing the beauty of the existing natural landscape. It is designed to be a viable medium. The raw concrete walls, which have been poured roughly as they are, present different curves and heights and form a walking path with an open circulation structure that encompasses the Vayu, Jala and Prithvi houses. The curved concrete wall harmonizes with the surrounding mountains and plays a role in unfolding a new scenery through the mountains and the sky.
Within the concrete exterior of the new building café Vayu, visitors are encouraged to enjoy the view of the sky in the stone gravel courtyard space. Inside the cafe, visitors can enjoy the sensational view of the ginkgo trees over the courtyard, which has been protecting this land for over hundred years and the mountain chain that runs along the Bukhan River. The rich natural conditions of the land facing the Bukhan River can be experienced in every nook and cranny of AYU SPACE and its gardens, making it a new space where visitors can experience a world of holistic healing for the past, present, and future.
Architectural design started with listening and reading the land conditions and was planned in a way that would seamlessly merge with the existing buildings, trees, and surrounding rivers and mountains. AYU SPACE becomes the background and the frame, with the interplay between a manmade structure and natural elements making it possible to appreciate nature through a borrowed scenery system of architecture.